17:57 GMT15 May 2021
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    The global death toll from the coronavirus infection has topped 3.035 million, over 142.3 million cases of the infection have been detected, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University, which tracks and compiles data from national and local authorities, the media and other sources.

    The United States has the highest death toll and overall coronavirus tally, with 31.8 million infected and 568,000 fatalities. It is followed by India (15.6 million cases, 181,000 deaths) and Brazil (14 million cases and a death toll of over 375,000), while Mexico has the third-highest death toll, over 212,000, and almost 2.31 million infected.

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    • 18:42

      Biden Announces New Program Calling on Employers to Provide Personal Time for Vaccination

      US President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a new program urging employers in the United States to provide employees time with pay in order to get vaccinated.

      “Today, I am announcing a program to address that issue nationwide, calling on every employer, large and small, in every state, to give employees the time of they need with pay to get vaccinated and any time they need with pay to recover if they feel under the weather after the shot,” Biden said.

    • 18:26

      Mexico, Poland Reportedly Find Fake Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccines

      The authorities in Mexico and Poland found vials of suspicious coronavirus vaccines earlier this year that manufacturer Pfizer has confirmed were fake, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

      Eighty individuals received one of the fake vaccines at a clinic in Mexico’s state of Nuevo Leon at a reported price of about $1000. The vaccines had vial numbers, expiration dates and a label adhesive that differed from the original vaccines given to the state.

      Testing performed on the vials revealed the substance was distilled water, but nevertheless, Pfizer said they will conduct more tests.

      The Polish authorities seized fake vaccines from a person's apartment that are believed to be anti-wrinkle treatment after officials noticed the vials were different from those used by Pfizer. The fake doses were seized before they could be administered to anyone.

    • 18:13

      Berlin Police Disperse Second Major Rally of 'COVID Dissidents'

      The Berlin police, which had already successfully dispersed a crowd of 8,000 protesters rallying against tougher COVID restrictions earlier in the day, put a stop to a second demonstration that gathered 3,000 people at the residence of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a Sputnik correspondent reported on Wednesday.

      The protests against the tightening of COVID-19 measures have been ongoing in the German capital since early morning. They were triggered by the proposed amendments to the law on the epidemiological protection of the population that would allow the authorities to impose tougher measures, including a national curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., school closures and tougher restrictions on stores.

      Over 8,000 people gathered near the Reichstag, but were dispersed by the police for violating mask-wearing and social distancing rules. The remaining demonstrators moved to the nearby Tiergarten park, where they got into scuffles with the police.

      About 3,000 protesters re-assembled near the president's residence ahead of the announcement of the passing of the bill. After less than an hour, the rally was announced as finished by the police and the demonstrators were forcibly dispersed. Law enforcement officers have also blocked off the adjacent streets, preventing the rally from marching down the city center.

      Eventually, the rally was divided into smaller groups and the majority of people went home.

      "At the moment, there are no protests related to restrictions in Berlin," a spokeswoman for the Berlin police told Sputnik.

      In total, at least 152 people were detained during the day for various violations.

    • 18:13

      Will South Korea Use Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine?

      Empty vials of the second dose of the Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine are pictured at the San Martin hospital, in La Plata, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina January 21, 2021.

      Seoul Considers Using Russian COVID-19 Vaccine Sputnik V

      SEOUL (Sputnik) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in instructed his aides to examine the possibility of using the Russian vaccine against COVID-19 Sputnik V in the country, Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday, citing a source in the presidency.
      Read more
    • 16:48

      Third of Austrians Experience Pandemic-Induced Mental Health Issues, Freud University Says

      One in three Austrian citizens has experienced mental health issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a fresh study by Sigmund Freud University (SFU) in Vienna.

      The study was conducted by researchers of the SFU Institute for Social Aesthetics and Mental Health, led by Michael Musalek and Oliver Scheibenbogen, who compared data from May 2020 to March 2021.

      The researchers found that in May of last year a quarter of Austrians felt the increased mental pressure due to the epidemiological situation, while in March of this year the stress spread further to one-third of the population.

      "The pandemic acts as an intensifier, and the difference in the population is growing. Mental stress has increased especially in the age group of 18-30. One in two young people today speaks of mental stress. Women are more affected than men," Scheibenbogen said.

      Over the past 10 months, more Austrians have been reporting sleep problems, syndromes of depression, anxiety and panic attacks. Every second respondent has shown increased irritability, while almost every third Austrian has chronic irritability. The major trigger of mental health problems reported in Austria, according to the SFU study, is the COVID-19 pandemic and the related restrictions, as well as economic and employment uncertainties.

    • 15:29

      Greek Prime Minister Announces Gradual Lifting of COVID Restrictions Starting From 3 May

      Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday announced a gradual lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions starting from May 3, after the Orthodox Easter.

      The restrictions are lifted on the recommendation of a committee of experts from the Ministry of Health.

      Greece will reopen cafes and restaurants on May 3, while students will return to primary and middle schools on May 10.

      "Thirdly, on Saturday, May 15, tourism will open. For tourists who have been vaccinated, as well as for those who have to travel with a test. On May 15, all citizens are also allowed to travel between regions. Some cultural events will also be allowed," the prime minister said during an address that was broadcast by the ERT TV Channel.

    • 14:43

      Poland Starts Lifting COVID-19 Lockdown From Thursday, Health Ministry Says

    • 13:05

      Oman Suspends Travel From India, Pakistan, Bangladesh From 24 April

    • 13:03

      US to Hit 200 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Target 'This Week', White House Says

    • 12:51

      Cambodia Confirms 303 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 12:03

      Sweden Reports 7,510 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 11:37

      France to Impose 10-Day Quarantine on Travellers From India

    • 11:22

      Armenia Detects 1,033 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 10:46

      Malaysia Reports 2,340 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 10:36

      Afghanistan Detects 133 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 08:43

      Finland May Start Lifting Virus Curbs Next Week, Prime Minister Sanna Marin Says

    • 08:28

      North Korea Toughens Border Control With China to Ward Off COVID-19, Reports Say

      North Korea imposes stricter control on its border with China in an attempt to prevent the coronavirus from seeping into the country, while still officially maintaining zero COVID-19 tally, South Korean media reported Wednesday.

      Stricter measures are taken to disinfect vehicles and people entering North Korea through the northern border, Yonhap news agency reports.

      Inspections of wild animals, birds and unidentified objects are also taking place.

      North Korea claims to be free of the COVID-19 virus but has been imposing tough measures in handling the global pandemic. Tight border controls have been in place since early last year.

    • 08:23

      Russia Registers 8,271 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

       Russia registered 8,271 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up from 8,164 the day before, taking the overall tally to 4,727,125, the coronavirus response centre said on Wednesday.

      "Over the past day, 8,271 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 83 Russian regions, including 1,011 cases (12.2 percent) without clinical symptoms," the centre said.

      The rate of increase grew to 0.18 percent.

      Moscow confirmed 1,988 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, down from 1,996 the day before. The Russian capital was followed by St. Petersburg with 693 new cases, up from 687 the day before, and the Moscow Region with 586 new cases, up from 562 on Tuesday.

      No new cases were registered in the Nenets Autonomous Region and the Chukotka Autonomous Region.

      The response centre reported 399 COVID-19 fatalities, up from 379 the day before, raising the country's death toll to 106,706.

      Total recoveries increased by 9,644 over the given period, up from 9,631 the previous day, and reached 4,352,873 in total.

    • 08:07

      Serum Institute of India Announces Cost of CovidShield Vaccine for Hospitals

    • 07:48

      Japan Expects Additional 50Mln Doses of Pfizer Vaccine, Reports Say

      Japan is making arrangements to receive additional 50 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, the Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday, citing government sources.

      While on a visit to the US last week, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga asked Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla to dispatch additional doses in a bid to ensure that all Japanese citizens older than 16 years get their shots by the end of September.

      The additional supply, together with the existing agreements, including 144 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 50 million Moderna shots, will enable Japan, with some 127-million population, to vaccinate roughly 110 million eligible people.

      Tokyo also has a vaccine supply agreement with AstraZeneca for 120 million doses. However, only the Pfizer vaccine has been greenlighted by the national regulator so far and has been used to vaccinate the population since February. The vaccines by Moderna and AstraZeneca are expected to be approved in May.

      According to government data, only around 1 percent of the Asian country's population has been vaccinated so far — a little over 1.2 million healthcare staff and about 19,000 senior citizens.

    • 07:48

      Over Four Million Mexicans Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19, Health Ministry Says

      About 4.1 million people in Mexico have been administered two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, thus becoming fully immunized, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

      “Today 4,111,121 people underwent full inoculation, so the severe form of the disease and hospitalization do not constitute a threat for them,” Jose Luis Alomia Zegarra, the ministry's epidemiology director, said during a press conference broadcast on YouTube.

      Most of those inoculated are elderly people (3.3 million) and doctors (790,000). In addition, 7.17 million people have received the first dose.

      Mexico started the vaccination against COVID-19 in late December. For this purpose, the authorities use five vaccines, including Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Cansino and Sputnik V, which they buy abroad or produce locally.

      The country has so far registered around 2.5 million COVID-19 cases and 213,048 people died of the disease.

    • 06:59

      Denmark to Decide on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Shot Next Week

    • 06:25

      Colombia Allows Private Sector to Buy COVID Vaccines for Employees

      The Colombian Ministry of Health and Social Protection has signed a resolution that allows businesses to procure coronavirus vaccines for free distribution among their employees through accredited vaccination centers.

      "We announce the signing of Resolution 507 ... this regulatory scheme allows the private sector to participate in the national vaccination campaign," Health Minister Fernando Ruiz Gomez said in a video address posted on the ministry's Twitter late on Tuesday.

      The resolution also envisages some restrictions — the companies can purchase only those vaccines that are approved by the country's regulator and should cooperate with developers' laboratories or their official representatives.

      Colombia currently uses the coronavirus vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Sinovac to immunize its population. Starting Wednesday, the country is expected to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

      According to the health ministry, some 3.7 million inoculations have already been carried out in the country.

      Since the outbreak of the pandemic, more than 2.68 million COVID-19 cases have been registered, including 69,177 fatalities.

    • 05:49

      Mongolia Registers 1,169 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 05:23

      Russia Suggests Joint Production of Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine in Bangladesh

      Russia, as part of a joint production agreement, has offered Bangladesh to produce the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in collaboration with local pharmaceutical firms, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abdul Momen said.

      “We agreed with them [Russia] on co-production [of the vaccine]… though it’s not finalized yet,” Momen told BSS in a recent interview.

      Russia is expected to provide the technology and Bangladeshi pharmaceutical companies will produce the vaccine.

      According to Bangladesh's Health Ministry, more than 723,000 COVID-19 cases have been registered in the country, with over 621,000 recoveries and about 10,400 related deaths.

    • 04:35

      India Reports Record Daily Surge of 295,041 Cases

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